Yesterday’s Victory Is Today’s Baseline – The Climb #183

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Yesterday’s Victory Is Today’s Baseline – The Climb #183

Sunday 23rd July 2017

I slept fretfully last night, waking several times and having trouble getting back to sleep.  But upon getting up and having breakfast, despite it being stupidly early and thinking I’d not had enough hours sleep, I felt good.

My first fight today was for the rapier & dagger quarter finals.  I was still feeling pumped and despite my match being against the world ranked #1 I was feeling like I could bring some heat to our match.  I’m generally a better fighter in the morning than I am in the afternoon so I thought that would help narrow the odds.

I’m not sure whether I really thought I could win it or not.  I know when I fight at a certain level I can beat him.  It’s just that I don’t know how to get myself to that level without everything falling apart.  But, even if I was to lose, getting what effectively amounts to 7th place in what is now probably the UK’s prominent competition, left me feeling good with myself.  I mean, it doesn’t technically make me the 7th best rapier & dagger fencer in the UK… but I was approaching it that way.

Pim was fighting with an insensity he saves for when he wants to win.  He does this thing where he actually rises to the occasion and so he must somehow syphon the stress and funnel it into insensity.

I think I fought hard.  Pim said afterwards that he didn’t feel me pressurising him until the end… but I’ll take the fact that I actually managed to pressurise him as an area where I’ve grown and can continue to grow.

I lost 12-6 but given it was Pim in Super-Saiyan mode I don’t feel too bad.  Especially as in the last bout I decided to really go for it and delivered what everyone told me was an amazing textbook thrust on him.

Obviously this leaves me with the thought that I can beat him if I fence with that intensity… which I’m physically capable of.  I just second guess myself all the time.  Friends observed that I’m quite static when I fight, which is me just sinking into base principles.

My sword & buckler didn’t go as well.  Now, I know my focus was on my rapier & dagger, and I did get some feedback that I voided well… but I didn’t string attacks together.  You always fall back on base instincts when you fight under pressure and for some reason, that involves me just chopping at people when it comes to sword & buckler.

Now, it’s not my main weapon, I was focused on the rapier & dagger,  I was more relaxed about it.  I’d said I didn’t care… but in truth, on the drive home I was more concerned about my poor sword & buckler than my fantastic rapier & dagger.  (Matt lost to Pim in the final by a wider margin than I did, and the bronze medal went to one of the people who beat me in my pool).

However, probably the thing I’m most proud of is during my sword & buckler pool.  I went over to someone, who I regularly train with, about our upcoming pool match.  I could see by the way they were struggling to hold it together that they were very frustrated about their performance.  I’m not sure what I said, something about how it would be just like our Sunday sparring sessions, and I managed to see him relax into our fight.  He posted on Facebook that I was a massive help to him.

This is why I’m Gryffindor when everyone around me says all the competitive swordfighters are Slytherins.  If I was a Slytherin, I’d have beaten him first.

So I come away from Astolat a mix of emotions.  There are things I’m proud of, there’s stuff I’m gutted about.  Man, it’s so hard not to feel a bit down when all your friends are posting pictures of their medals  (not that you mind them doing so… if it was me I’d be wearing mine for the next week!)

Considering that I’ve been saying that I’d be really frustrated around this time of year to head off expected outcomes, I’m pleased that hasn’t happened.  I’ve now had a string of tournaments where I‘ve made the quarter finals, so I can definitely see that I’ve really, really stepped up in the last year.  I can also see glimmers of the fencer I believe I can be, but I’m not there yet.

So whilst I never got any medals and there are bits I’m unhappy about… I’m feeling pretty good at the end of this weekend.  But that just puts more expectation on the next one!

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-07-24T14:18:31+00:00July 24th, 2017|Swordfighting, The Climb|0 Comments

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